10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 8: Santa Cruz, Muir Woods, California
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.
Overview: Visiting Santa Cruz and seeing hundreds of Sea Lions, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Muir Woods National Monument and hiking among the redwood trees.
Santa Cruz Pier
Our hotel was located on the beach, so we headed out for a lovely morning stroll on the beach.
The morning started off back where most of our trip had been – dark and gloomy!
After our beach walk, we headed out onto the Santa Cruz pier where we caught the most amazing sights and sounds of sea lions!
At first we had no idea we would see them. We were walking and heard extremely loud barking noises coming from the grates in the ground on the pier. The kids and I stopped to listen while Clayton walked on ahead…and then called to us to come see!
The pier was LOADED with sea lions! It was incredible! There we seriously so many! Most of them were perched up on the rafters of the pier – which they would have been able to jump up on to during high tide at night.
We walked further down the pier and got a better shot of the sea lions! They were totally adorable all snuggled up and sleeping.
Towards the end of the pier, there were areas that were much easier to see the sea lions – they were hilariously funny…and noisy!
Watch with your 🔊 SOUND ON! 😂
Breakfast at Dolphin
At the end of the pier, there is a restaurant called Dolphin. It overlooks the water, where many people were surfing, and lots of sea lions were swimming. I begged the waiter to switch jobs with me (he could be a stay at home mom and I would be a server) … because he had the best views! But he declined. Smhhh. ;-p
We attempted to walk back to the car and head north to San Francisco…but made a few detour stops along the way!
Bills Wheels Skateshop, Santa Cruz
We had stopped into a gift shop and the boys saw some skateboard deck that they liked. After talking with the employees, they suggested that we head over to Bills Wheels Skateshop, the original Santa Cruz skate shop and check them out.
So, we loaded up and headed to Bills. The boys each picked out their very own Santa Cruz skateboard and met Bill, the owner and founder!
Then of course, they had to take them for a spin around the parking lot.
Pillar Point Harbor, California
We made a few more stops along the Pacific Coast Highway 1 before finally arriving in San Francisco. At Pillar Point Harbor, we saw a capsized boat being rescued in the cove! Very interesting! We weren’t sure if it was legit, or if they were using the boat for training purposes. Either way, it was an interesting sight!
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
By mid afternoon, we finally had made our way to San Francisco. While we planned on spending the next couple of days here (since our plans to visit Yosemite were derailed by weather), I will share more about San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the next couple of days. Today we just about driving over it, both ways, to go to Muir Woods National Monument!
Don’t worry! There will be way better photos of the Golden Gate Bridge in day 9… or you can check out our photos from WALKING across the bridge in 2015.
Muir Woods National Monument
And…my favorite…the grow old together tree! Seriously. I mean, come on. How sweet are these two trees? They literally have grown up together! … Soooooo much like Clayton and I. I had a crush on him when I was in 7th grade, dated him my sophomore year, and then got back together forever when I was 19. He’s my _____ . We are just like the two trees, that have grown old (and wide 😂) together!
While the trees at Muir Woods were nothing like those at Mariposa Grove, they were still neat…however, if you’re able to get out to Yosemite, definitely make sure you visit Mariposa Grove to see the sequoias! Here’s a little sneak photo of what you’ll expect…
We left Muir Woods, crossed back over the Golden Gate Bridge, drove over the Oakland bridge and into the hills of Walnut Creek to meet up with Clayton’s brother and girlfriend!
Walnut Creek/Cheesecake Factory
Clayton’s brother has lived in California for years, but unfortunately, we haven’t made it out as a whole family to see him! So this was super fun! Not only did we get to see him, we got to meet his super hilarious and sweet girlfriend! Yay!!
The kids LOVED the cheesecake…and were blown away at the amount of calories in each piece 🤢 😂
Day 8 certainly was filled with lots of memorable events!